Tuesday, January 1, 2008

January 1/Chapter 1

The thought for this morning is beginnings. It is a new year. The January EMT classes will soon begin. And in each class, chapter 1. You may recall chapter 1 if you are an EMT (practitioner or educator). Chapter 1 is the chapter you rush through so you can get to the "real" EMT stuff.

Within that seemingly insignificant chapter are the roles, responsibilities and traits of an EMT. This is where the statements "maintain a professional appearance" and "keep the rig clean and ready for the next call" reside.

My father was in the hospital recently. In each hospital room was a small whiteboard with a big purpose. It listed the names of the RN, LPN and NA responsible for that room. It also displayed the date which is important if one is in the hospital for any amount of time. The days blend together.

After spending several days in the hospital I began to notice an apparent correlation. The days the whiteboard was up to date my father seemed to get better, more attentive care. Days I walked in and it was shifts (or days) old. Well, you can guess what the care was like.

I studied this and thought about it every day. And I thought about how it may relate to those roles, responsibilities and traits of the EMS provider. And I'll admit that while I never was a slob and I keep my rig clean, I did occasionally think the patients were just happy to get good, personal care and that these alleged little things were less important.

I was wrong.

Those little things do make a difference and set a baseline for what your patients expect. On this January 1st take a moment to look at chapter 1. If you teach, think about new ways to get this important information across to your students. They'll be waiting for the important (aka gory, cool) stuff. I got a real life reminder that the important stuff really does start in chapter one.

Happy New Year.

(By the way, the nurses listed in this whiteboard photo were outstanding. Note the nicely drawn wreath and Christmas colors.)

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